“The peace of the Lord follows the way of meekness and the cross: it is taking responsibility for others. Indeed, Christ took on himself our evil, sin, and death. He took it all upon himself. In this way, he freed us. He paid for us. His peace is not the fruit of some compromise, but rather is born of self-giving.”
He illustrated his point by referring to “The Grand Inquistor,” a story within Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1880 novel “The Brothers Karamazov.” The pope has frequently invoked the Russian writer, including in his 2013 encyclical Lumen fidei, speeches, and in-flight press conferences.
In Dostoevsky’s story, Jesus returns to Earth and is arrested by the Grand Inquistor, who interrogates him. The Inquisitor castigates Jesus for “preferring to leave humanity free rather than subjugate it and solve its problems by force.”
“Here is the deception that is repeated throughout history,” the pope said, “the temptation of a false peace, based on power, which then leads to hatred and betrayal of God, and so much bitterness in the soul.”
The pope added that while worldly power produces “destruction and death,” Christ’s peace “builds up history.”
“Easter is therefore the true feast of God and humanity, because the peace that Christ gained on the Cross in giving himself is distributed to us,” he said.
Explaining that the word “Easter” means “passage,” he urged pilgrims to “pass from the worldly god to the Christian God, from the greed that we carry within us to the charity that sets us free, from the expectation of a peace brought by force to the commitment to bear real witness to the peace of Jesus.”
After the pope’s address, a summary of his catechesis was read out in seven languages and he greeted members of each language group.
Addressing Anglophone Catholics, he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United States of America.”
“May the celebration of Easter be a time of grace and renewal for everyone. Upon each of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Speaking to Polish pilgrims, Pope Francis noted that many Poles will observe Holy Week and Easter in the company of Ukrainian refugees. More than 2.6 million people have entered Poland from Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24.
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“Easter is a family holiday, and you, by opening your homes to them, have become their family,” the pope said.
“Although most of them, according to Eastern tradition, will celebrate this holiday a week later, right now, you are all together gazing at the Crucified One and looking forward to the resurrection of Christ, and peace in Ukraine. I bless you from my heart.”